YOGA RESOURCE: Literature Review of Yoga Research

Yoga Activist worked with The George Washington University to assess 19 studies on yoga’s benefits – including studies on youth.  (And Yoga Activist collects yoga mats – which Y.O.G.A. for Youth uses in the Chapel Hill middle schools!)

At the request of Jasmine Chehrazi, Founder of, a group of nine graduate students enrolled in the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) program at The George Washington University conducted a literature review on the health benefits of yoga. The review provides with information needed to further develop its network of studio-supported yoga outreach programs to diverse communities, both locally and nationally. Specifically, the review highlights the dynamic interplay between stress, weight, and other disease indicators—all of which can be addressed, if not mitigated, through routine participation in yoga…
Through the literature review, the nine students found documentation of yoga’s effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal conditions, improving mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing cortisol levels (associated with self-esteem and tenacity and lower levels of nervousness and depression), improving pulmonary function among asthmatic children, increasing exercise self-efficacy, reducing and/or controlling blood pressure, slowing weight gain, controlling diabetes mellitus, and improving overall mood. Such benefits extend to individuals across the life span. While yoga alone is insufficient to reverse disease or substantially improve health status, the literature suggests that yoga, when combined with other intervention measures, can reap significant physiological and mental health benefits for diverse populations. Yoga is a personal, non-competitive physical activity. When practiced correctly and routinely, yoga provides individuals of all ages with the motivation and self-efficacy needed to live and maintain healthier lifestyles.